We asked, you answered. Last month, we asked our readers to share their budget friendly,
money saving holiday ideas. We were excited by the many great responses we received,
encouraged by your efforts to stick to your budgets (even during the holidays),
tickled by your creativity and heartened by your expressions of care, concern and
love for your families, friends and neighbors. From all of your responses, we chose
to share those we thought were the most innovative and functional.
For the December issue of Defeat Debt’s The Real Story here are your responses.
Presented first: our judges’ favorite.
Dear Michaela -
I am on a very tight budget like many others. I decided to buy gift cards that are
rechargeable from a well-known store. I started out with putting $10 and will add
as much as I can till Christmas. My son lives in another state and when I send him
the card he will keep it. I have the number so I can put more money on for his birthday.
This way I don’t have postage to send him gifts and if he moves he can use
it at any store. You just have to scratch off so you can write down the numbers
only if you will be recharging without the card. The store can manually put in the
numbers if you don’t have the card. No more spending more than you should.
No more paying postage. No more returned gifts. A picture and/or letter from the
heart is more important than the gift, the gift is just an extra.
cards can make gift
giving easier on
Submitted by Cindy A. from Nebraska.
Dear Cindy -
This is such a fabulous idea on so many fronts - ease of use, ability to stretch
it out over time and work it into a budget, no ongoing postage expense, can be used
at any location (including a web site in this day), and no worries about fit or
color matches. (I might suggest, instead of scratching off to see the card number,
ask store personnel for the card number at the time it is charged so you can have
it for later - better yet, tell them what you are doing and go by the store recommendation.)
Most importantly, your last line is what people seem to forget. How many of us would
love to have that letter from those closest to us, letting us know what is in their
hearts? Thank you so much for your reply. I’m certain your holiday season
will bring you happiness and not stress due to your planning in advance and creative
use of your resources.
Michaela Harper, Program Director.
Other ideas received from Defeat Debt readers and Credit Advisors Foundation staff:
Give them a try for a budget friendly, money saving holiday!
You can find many tips and ideas about saving money during the holidays and avoiding
big holiday debt problems come January. But are you paying attention?
What are the experts estimating we’ll spend this year? On average estimates
have increased to $702.03 per consumer (not just households) this holiday
season. Of that, 58 percent will be spent on family, 10 percent on friends, 6 percent
on service providers, 3 percent on co-workers, and how could we resist, 13 percent
First and foremost in saving money during the holidays, understand what you believe
and the way you think about money:
Priorities - What is your purpose or goal? Is the holiday about family and
friends or giving gifts? Make a priority list for what must be accomplished,
and what is optional.
Comparison shop - make non-spending comparison trips, or use the Internet
or circular ads to compare prices.
Shop all at once at purchase time - use your budgeted list and stick to it
(if your list is too big to do all at once - see ’avoid overdoing it’
below - break it into chunks or groupings to be completed at once).
Last minute shopping - results in pressured decisions and increases the likelihood
Over doing it - avoid shopping when stores are most crowded, shop without
your kids but go with another adult if necessary, one who is as serious as you about
sticking to the list, to help keep you on track. Remember, if you’re cranky
and tired your choices will reflect that - take a break or rest as often as needed.
Never be afraid to explore your creativity during the holidays. Some families
give gifts on New Year’s or later to take advantage of better retail prices
and keep the holiday focus off of the gifts themselves.
Regardless, you can have a holiday filled with the best of the season and still
avoid big holiday debt.
The list of words below, taken from this month’s Defeat Debt articles, are
hidden in the Word Search matrix. See how many you can find.
I first saw him when I was in college. We met through one of those on-line services.
I was told he was generous, and would focus on my needs. The type who would be there
whenever I needed him. He was very bright and a real card. At first spending time
with him always made me feel great but my friends warned me he was nothing but plastic.
Nevertheless, we began to go everywhere together . . . C.C. bought me dinners, jewelry,
expensive clothes - almost anything I desired! He told me I was priceless and deserved
only the very best.
A month later, I met Bill. He was waiting for me when I went to pick up my mail.
He too, seemed nice at first, and for a while he said he was only interested in
my happiness. Soon it seemed he knew everything C.C. and I did and when I asked
him what his interests were, he said 20.02% . . . It was pretty clear that all he
was after was my money. To make matters worse, Bill said C.C. would never go anywhere
with me again if I didn’t pay - those two had their little game planned all
along. It seems I never really knew C.C. at all...Which brings me to why I won’t
be sending you a gift this year . . . Happy Holidays anyway.
Adapted from: American Greetings.
As we have been reminded in this issue of Defeat Debt, holiday gifts don’t
have to cost a fortune to be meaningful. A little creativity and using our special
talents can go a long way when giving gifts anytime during the year.
This month in The Kitchen on a Dime we present two easy recipes that, when prepared,
can make very special gifts that are yummy, too.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Mix in cayenne pepper,
salt, cinnamon, and Tabasco. Place pecan halves in a medium bowl. Pour butter mixture
over nuts and toss to coat. Spread out nuts on a large baking sheet. Bake until
crisp, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in decorative airtight container.
Can be prepared 1 week ahead.
Combine ingredients, mix well. Store in decorative airtight container. Use by tablespoonfuls
according to taste. Simply, spoon into cup and add boiling water.